In 2113, the world was drug free. No more junkies. No more dope dealers and drug lords.
Unfortunately, what took the place of drug addiction was a new addiction. An addictive new technology.
In 2102, Dr. Maroue founded SynesthesiaWorks. SynWorks was a biotech entertainment corporation. Dr. Maroue discovered a way for clients to experience the sensible world in the same way various animals perceive the world. In one program, the client could experience the olfactory sensation of a bloodhound. In another program, the client could experience the auditory sensation of moth (up to 240,000Hz.). In another program, the client could experience the gustatory sensation of a rabbit, which has twice the taste buds of human beings. In another program, the client could experience the optical sensation of a bee, or an ostrich, or an owl. And so on and so forth.
Each synesthetic enhancement was like discovering a new world. Some clients, knows as Cruisers, would sample different synesthetic enhancements. They purchased lightweight headgear that enabled them to enjoy as much or as little synesthetic recreation as they wanted to every day or every week.
But many other clients found the technology positively compulsive. They had neuroimplants which enabled them enjoy the synesthetic enhancement 24/7. They burrowed ever deeper into the alien world of an animal sensation.
Different clients tapped into different animal sensations. It wasn’t long before they formed their own communities, such as Avians, Moths, Rabbits, Canines, and so forth.
Clients would only relate to other clients with the same synesthetic enhancement. This, in turn, quickly spawned various subcultures. The Rabbits started their own restaurants, with menus catering to their rabbity taste buds. Canines developed their own line of perfumes. Moths composed their own music, and held their own concerts. Bees made their own movies, especially adapted to their unique visual acuities.
Then there were clients, known as Alters, who ceased to relate to human beings at all. Instead, they bonded exclusively with the nonhuman animals whose sensory aptitude they shared. Some lost the ability to communicate in human language. They could only communicate with members of their adopted species. Instead of condominiums, they lived in aviaries, insectariums, herpetariums, serpentariums, paludariums, and the like.
Many clients became sociopathic. Perceiving the world from the viewpoint of an animal, they ceased to have empathy for human beings. They lose their native sense of kinship. Some of them came to view human beings as a prey species. Cannibalism became the leading form of homicide.
Civil libertarians defended them on the grounds that cannibalism lacks the element of criminal intent when the “human” predator no longer perceives the human prey as a member of his own species.
There were futile efforts to outlaw the technology. However, it was too popular to ban. Too many judges, lawmakers, policemen, juries, or members of their family, were hooked.
Civilization came to resemble a human zoo, with different factions vying to play the game warden.